March 06, 2018

Cardboard creativity pays dividends for Fonterra

Fonterra has claimed an industry first with the launch of its ingenious packaging solution for high-quality milk fats, known as AMF. The solution is the first of its kind in the dairy industry.

Challenging the industry norm for storing the light-shy product in giant drums or in frozen packs, Fonterra has developed small 15L cardboard packs that are easily stackable and manoeuvrable and can be stored at room temperature. A butter alternative, AMF is an ingredient in many foods such as ice cream, confectionary and bakery goods.

Fonterra Dairy Foods Category Director, Casey Thomas said, “Fonterra saw an opportunity to come up with the technology that would allow AMF to be packed more conveniently without refrigeration while keeping it airtight. Our teams found a way to overcome the oxidation challenges and collaborated with packaging expert Sealed Air (NZ) to develop a foil barrier bag with a specially designed valve to keep light and oxygen out.”

The lightweight 15L cartons are easier than 210kg steel drums to unload from containers and can be efficiently and safely stored in the warehouse, saving costs on refrigeration, storage, and transport. The new process that quickly chills the AMF to create a fine texture also means the customer can scoop the product straight from the box, without needing to melt it first.

“This new packaging is hugely beneficial to companies such as small bakeries and artisan food manufacturers, which have found it difficult to store and access AMF for use in their products. Not only is it more convenient, it’s cost efficient as customers can buy smaller amounts to match the volumes they need,” said Casey.

Fonterra has already signed up a customer in Taiwan and has interest from customers in many countries including Algeria, South Africa, and Peru.

Fonterra General Manager, Taiwan Sera Cheng said that feedback from customers has been very positive. “We have been selling AMF to customers in Taiwan for more than two decades and know that our customers welcome the new, easy-to-open format. The first shipment of the cardboard packs has just landed in Taiwan and stood up to the rigors of a month-long sea voyage extremely well. Based on our pre-launch customer survey, our customers can’t wait to receive the new packs.”

Casey adds that Fonterra is always looking to apply technology and ingenious thinking to create new solutions to better meet customer needs. In this case, he says the new packaging will also save Fonterra manufacturing costs so it is a mutually beneficial outcome.

Fonterra Engineering Project Manager Ian Hall demonstrates the ease with which the cardboard container can be handled.